Cover Image: In the Blink of an Eye

In the Blink of an Eye

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In the Blink of an Eye by Jesse Blackadder is a heartbreaking book about a family's sudden and tragic loss and the ripple effects of this loss on their family unit. Family drama and a possible court case move this story along as the family tackles with how best to handle their grief. A very difficult topic inspired by the author's own family history that is well-written and deeply moving.  Read and enjoy!
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Good storyline, unique plot. A bit predictable with the main storyline but the part with Jarrah realizing he is gay was kind of just out of the blue....nothing leading up to it would have made me wonder if he was, and then all of a sudden it's a fact. Kind of weird. Other than that, it was a good story. I found it very emotional and at times I had tears in my eyes. So it really affected me. I like the setting too.
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The Brennans—parents, Finn and Bridget, and their sons, Jarrah and Toby—have made a sea change, from chilly Hobart, Tasmania, to subtropical Murwillumbah, New South Wales. Feeling like foreigners in this land of sun and surf, they’re still adjusting to work, school, and life in a sprawling purple clapboard house, when one morning, tragedy strikes.

    In the devastating aftermath, the questions fly. What really happened? And who’s to blame? Determined to protect his family, Finn finds himself under the police and media spotlight. Guilty and enraged, Bridget spends nights hunting answers in the last place imaginable. Jarrah—his innocence lost—faces a sudden and frightening adulthood where nothing is certain.

 

My Thoughts: Alternating narrators present the past and the present, and In the Blink of an Eye reveals a family in the midst of starting over from what they left behind. But just when they believe their new life is finally coming together, a huge loss takes over the fresh beginning…and changes everything.

Each character has secrets to hide, and it is easy to feel for them all. I had some favorites, but just when I thought I knew them all, something unexpected would come out and twist the narrative.

Because the story flashes back and forth regularly, we don’t learn everything about the events until they trickle down in tidbits and flashbacks. Struggling with loss and how the landscape of their lives changes dramatically forces them each to redefine who they are and what will happen next.

Will Finn and Bridget reconnect? Can their new life work, or must they return to their former residence to right the wrongs of the past? A story that made me think about all that can happen in one blink of an eye. 4.5 stars.***My e-ARC came from the publisher via NetGalley.
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This is a cathartic novel about the aftermath of unthinkable tragedy. I can't say that I enjoyed reading it, but more than I was consumed by it. The death of a beloved toddler unfolds in the alternating perspectives of parents Finn and Bridget and their teenaged son, Jarrah. That Toby was acutely loved is never in doubt, but how each surviving family member handles the loss is unique and poignant. An intimate portrait of a family whose loss could have torn them apart and very nearly does.
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3.5⭐️ rounded up to 4.

Finn and Bridget Brennan and their sons Jarrah and Toby have moved from chilly Hobart, Tasmina to subtropical Murwillumbah, New South Wales. Feeling like foreigners in this land of surf and sun, they're still adjusting to their new life and surroundings. Then, tragedy strikes. In the devastating aftermath questions fly. What really happened and who was to blame? Finn finds himself under police and media spotlight. Bridget spends the nights hunting for answers.

The story is told from Finn, Bridget and Jarrah's point of view. Finn was just about to get his big break when tragedy strikes. There's not much more that I can tell you without giving away spoilers and I don't want to waste the book for you. All I can say is that it's heartbreaking, captivating and a very moving story.

I would like to thank NetGalley, St. Martin's Press and the author Jesse Blackadder for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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In the Blink of an Eye by Jesse Blackadder is an emotionally compelling novel about a family in crisis following an unspeakable tragedy.

  The Brennan family is still adjusting to their recent move from Tasmania to Murwillumbah when their lives take a heartbreaking turn. Husband Finn is an artist whose career is about to take off but in the aftermath of loss, he is unable to concentrate on his projects.  Wife Bridget is the family’s primary source of income and she is unable to face any of her colleagues except Chen, a young man whose caring and compassion spark an unexpected reaction in her. Fifteen year old Jarrah finds himself finally earning acceptance in school when fellow student Laura Fieldman takes him under her wing. The family is already fracturing  under the strain of their unbearable grief when a shocking arrest further upends their lives. Will this shattered family find their way back one another or is it too late for them to recover from the stunning loss they have endured?

  At a time when the Brennan family should turn to each other for comfort, they begin to fall apart. Bridget cannot bear to be around Finn as her grief turns to rage. Finn has lost focus and his efforts to help the family widen the gap between them. Jarrah is lost and confused and the situation between his parents just adds to his unending sadness.  Will the latest shocking turn of events bring them together or will this once happy family be completely ripped apart?

  In the Blink of an Eye is an engrossing novel that is a realistic depiction of a family deeply mourning a shocking loss. Each of the characters reaction to their pain is realistic and utterly heartbreaking. Jesse Blackadder has drawn on her personal history in this deeply affecting and poignant novel which provides another layer of authenticity to her characters’ myriad emotions and grief. This riveting read will linger in readers’ hearts and minds long after the last page is turned.
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You turn your back for a moment. A family is torn apart when their young son dies and one parent will give up everything to try & save what is left of their family. Finn knows that he should try harder but he really hates living on the North Coast he just wants to take his family back home. But his wife Bridget is happy here she has a great job but Finn still can't seem to settle. He knows that it is his fault that they left to come here but he hoped that Bridget would have put that mistake behind them. Bridget won't be going back Tasmania she can't face her best friend after what happened and Finn just needs to accept that this is their new home. Finn loves looking after his sons Toby & Jarrah but he worries about the eldest as he is becoming more withdrawn and he can't seem to get a word out of him.
Jarrah is finding school much harder than before he is been teased badly and now a girl wants to be his friend and he isn't even sure if he likes girls. He knows that things are weird at home, his dad hides away in his workshop all the time and his mom is always working. At least he has his little brother Toby, he lights up the room easily and he is all that he needs in his life. 
Finn has been offered a place in a gallery and that means that he will need to do some serious metalwork to get anything done on time. He knows that his art doesn't make much but he is good at it and he needs this right now. Bridget knows that she needs to step up and help around the house so that Finn can get ready in time. But she turns her back on Toby for one moment and their lives change in an instant. Finn knows that the gate was closed and he doesn't know how Toby made it to the pool. Things take a turn for the worst when he is arrested as the police are blaming Toby's death on him and he knows that he has to make it right. Will they ever be able to recover from this tragedy? What happens if Finn goes to jail? The family needs to stick together but Jarrah is depressed and he scared his only friend Tom away and he doesn't think that there is anything left to live for. Bridget blames Finn for everything and she accepts none of it. Can Finn bring his family closer or is it just too late?
A very sad read. Can't even imagine what the author's family went through all those years ago. I was lucky enough to receive a copy via Netgalley & the publishing house in exchange for my honest review.
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I should have known that anything with "In the Blink of an Eye" would have something happen that would be sad beyond words. This story was just too sad for me. I read close to half of it and though the author did a good job of putting us in the minds of the main characters: mom, dad, teenage son, I just found all of those minds to be too sad to continue. There isn't any way for it to end happily so I stopped reading.
Thank you NetGalley for an advance reader copy in exchange for an honest opinion.
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The death of a young child through a preventable accident causes ripples of trauma through the remaining family unit.  The accusations, whether verbalized or silent, of negligence hover over every thought and conversation.  And these accusations don’t just involve the actual accident;  they expand and engulf untold episodes of other almost-accidents.  As though the child had been saved from death countless times only to be lost finally, somehow, intentionally.  Author Jesse Blackadder wrote IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE with a survivor’s perspective and the devotion to detail gives her away.  This is a book that is riveting in its feeling of authenticity and heightened sense of humanity.  It is impossible to stop once started;  not so much as a family in disintegration but as a storm brewing.  You’ll want to read through the raging and get to the calm beyond the storm.  It is a heart-rending tale based in part on the author’s childhood.  I received my copy from the publisher though NetGalley.
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I was given an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

In the blink of an eye life can change. This family saga centres around a family who have suffered losses. Set in Australia I enjoyed the descriptions of the scenery. The characters are very real and  the story being told from various points of view, allowed the reader to get a feel of different emotions and the story from different perceptions .

But for me something was missing and I felt a bit disconnected and that in parts the book was too clinically narrated.  A bit disappointed as the storyline had great potential. 

Overall 3 stars
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Life can change in 30 seconds and leave us devastated in 60 seconds. What can I say about grief? It affects all of us in different ways, and sometimes there are no right or wrong ways, just ways which are both right to each other. 

Finn and Bridget have moved houses with their sons, 16 year old Harrah and 2 1/2 year old Toby. The family lives a happy outdoorsy kind of routine life in the new place with sea and the swimming pool and fun. When tragedy strikes one morning.... 

The book by Jesse Blackadder deals with the aftermath of that tragedy and the way the members of the family deal with it in the next 36 days. Told from the POV of the parents Finn and Bridget and teenage son Jarrah, their emotions, their sacrifices, and their dilemma just seeps into the pages. 

The story has been written based on the tragedy which occurred in the author's life 40 years ago, and that makes it all the more poignant. The book made me feel all the emotions, the days prior and post tragedy were well shown. The book had its niggles. Only the mother's POV was written in second person You, and that made it odd reading for me, it broke my rhythm. And the ending felt a bit rushed and different. 

Overall, an emotional read on a Tuesday afternoon.
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The Brennan family have recently moved from Tasmania to New South Wales, and they are still adjusting to their new lives when tragedy strikes. When he was briefly left unattended, the family’s two-year-old son Toby, somehow wanders into the closed off pool area and drowns before either of his parents find him. Finn and Bridget, as well as their teenaged son Jarrah, are shattered by Toby’s unexpected death and all of them seek answers about what really happened that day. The local police also want to know if Toby’s death was a tragic accident or the result of negligence. Finn decides in the immediate aftermath that he will take the blame for leaving the gate to the pool area open – sparing Bridget from blaming herself for briefly leaving their son unattended and also (in his mind) making up for a past transgression that nearly ruined their marriage. Turning against her husband, Bridget seeks comfort in surprising places. And Jarrah is thrust into adulthood – forced to face the loss of his brother and his own identity. 

IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE is an emotional, heartbreaking drama about every parent’s worst nightmare – the death of a child. The fact that the author lived through a similar tragedy – her sister drowned when they were children – makes the story all the more real. The novel is told from three separate points of view – Finn’s third-person perspective, Bridget’s second-person perspective, and Jarrah’s first-person perspective. At first, Bridget’s second-person perspective was a bit off-putting since that POV is so rarely used – everything was described as “you did this” and “you felt this.” After a while, I got used to it and even enjoyed it as Bridget tells the story to herself. Finn’s third-person perceptive was a bit detached as it showed him from the outside looking in on the events. Jarrah’s first-person perspective was very abrupt and immediate – much like a teenager would think. 

I enjoyed the novel – it was very emotional, and I enjoyed the three different points of view. That being said, there were certain aspects of the novel that I did not enjoy. I did not like the parents at all – especially since they basically dumped their toddler onto their teenage son. I was in no way surprised when Toby drowned as neither parent seemed interested in watching him. Finn was the usual caretaker, but he was too busy working on his art to pay attention. And Bridget…well, she hardly seemed to know how to take care of her child. I was also concerned about Jarrah’s love for his baby brother causing him to question his sexuality. I had no problem with his journey to discover his sexuality, but there just seemed to be an underlying pedophilia thing going on. There was also nothing about Jarrah that led me to think he was gay aside from some random mentions about a boy he used to know who accused him of being gay. A bully called him gay – something that teenage bullies do all the time – and somehow that makes Jarrah gay? Given, the teenager still swims naked with his parents…that could explain some things.
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Wow. I loved this book. Brilliantly written I highly recommend it. 

It deals with grief and loss. Based loosely on the authors own experience of Loss it is heartbreaking.

Thanks to NetGalley and the author for the opportunity to read it.
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4* Tragically Broken Stars

This book was incredibly emotional and heart wrenching. The authors’ writing is so deep and heartfelt that I was overwhelmed with sadness through most of the story.

The story centres on the Brennan family, Dad Finn, Mother Bridget and their 15 year old son Jarrah who are totally broken and the journey they have to take to overcome the tragic accident that they have all experienced with the loss of their beloved Toby who was only 2 years old. 

The story is told from the POV’s of Finn, Bridget and Jarrah. It was interesting to see how each member of the family was coping with the tragedy and to what lengths they went to for healing and acceptance. I struggled to like and accept Bridget as I thought she was incredibly selfish and uncaring.

If you are in the mood for a highly emotional story about dealing with grief, forgiveness and family then I highly recommend this powerful read. 

Many thanks to St Martins Press and NetGalley for my copy to read and review.
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The Brennan family leave Hobart to move across the sea to Murwillumbah in New South Wales. It is meant to be a fresh start for the family after having been shaken up and left reeling. Mother Bridget is successful in her interview and the boys find an ideal home for the family, complete with a swimming pool. They are all unused to the wearying heat: the purple house is just what they were looking for, right down to the pool for a refreshing dip to cool them all down.

Finn is the house husband while Bridget puts her enthusiasm and considerable skills into her work, paying the bills and affording them an easy lifestyle. Finn is an artist hoping to break through and make it big as a sculptor. He has just earned a valuable commission and things are looking very bright with another possible customer showing interest in his work. He’s an excellent Dad to Jarrah and Toby, the baby of the family at only two years old. They had almost given up all hope of a second child when Toby arrived thirteen years after Jarrah. He was their gift from the angels and the two boys are extremely close.

With Finn needing to work hard to complete his commission on time, Bridget arranges childcare for Toby and agrees to take some time off work as well. That first morning is such a rush for the family with Bridget unaware of the daily routine. She has already sent Finn off to his work shop. Jarrah has  left for school so she rushes upstairs, taking her eye off Toby for only a few minutes, having left him on the floor reading his book. But when she returns Toby is missing. It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. She hunts for him, hoping he is playing at hide and seek. She glances out of the window and there she sees her baby face down in the water. She is devastated. She cannot revive him, even though Finn reads the resuscitation protocol to her. Finn collects Jarrah from school and the nightmare begins. They are broken, not able to help each other it seems. Then the police call in to the family home with even more bad news.

This story is based on the true story of Jesse Blackadder’s two year old sister who lost her life in a similar accident. It is captivating and beautifully written, full of raw and unmitigated grief, paralysing the once happy family that had everything to look forward to then lose it all. It is heart breaking to the upmost extreme but also thought provoking and addictive. Jesse writes with compassion and empathy, laying the facts bare. She has meticulously researched her facts and created perfect characters to enhance her story. I felt stricken for the family and hoped against all hope that they would come through this devastating trauma. Their grief, anger, forgiveness and loyalty are stretched to the limits. The three narrators are bewildered and nothing makes sense to them. Their plight just melts your heart. 

I received a complimentary copy of this excellent novel from publisher St Martin’s Press through my membership of NetGalley. Thank you for my copy sent in return for an honest and unbiased review. I am honoured to have had the opportunity to read and review this novel. Jesse Blackadder has a huge talent and has used her personal trauma to inform her impassioned writing. She knows the damage done in the blink of an eye will be far reaching and inform the future of this poor family, once four individuals, but now only three. She has a huge talent for this genre. It’s a mighty 5* review from me.

This novel was first published in Australia in 2017 when it was published as ‘60 Seconds’
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This book is definitely one that should be read with a big ol' box of tissues- the author draws on her own painful experience to create a such a meaningful and thoughtful novel.
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This book is just not for me. I couldn’t get into the characters or the story. It has a great cover which will draw readers in but I didn’t like the way the story was being told. Did not finish.
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I read this book via my Kindle voice view, this was a different genre than my normal historical fiction but due to the reviews I was looking forward to a change. The story is told by the four members of the family, Toby, Finn, Jarrah and Bridget, they all go over the unfortunate events of a family tragedy, how it has affected each one, how they perceive the events of the day and finally how they try to move forward. 
This family was broken and dis-connected before the tragedy, they just never took the time to realize how broken they were. Toby was holding this family together, I won’t go into the many issues nor want to give away any spoilers, but, I was disappointed in the depth, I found Bridget completely self-centered, Finn wasn’t much better, but he was trying to do the right thing and they both were so consumed with their own problems, they were missing Jarrah’s struggles. 
I felt the best part of the book was the ending, this is a drama filled, basically sad story. I see that I am in the minority on the reviews of this book and may have missed some of the beauty, but unfortunately it just wasn’t one of my favorites. 
I was given an advanced copy from St. Martin’s Press through Net Galley for my honest review, this one gets 3***’s.
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This is a very emotional story of how it feels when it happens as opposed to why or what happens.

I felt so utterly broken after reading this that I was speechless.

So I did the unusual and wrote my review in a form of a poem:
It’s not the first or last sentence
The tears roll on and on
The most unbearable repentance
All three narrators feel on and on
Painfully detained events that come
After the uttermost horrifying unmentionable
Brain succumbs to a soothing hum
It’s just a story, just words that feel factiously imaginable
Except they’re not just words
They’re thoughts written down
They’re true feelings broken out in herds
That have no equivalent in nouns 
My heart breaks into a million parts
When I read the last note by the writer
So much remorse, years worked on her arts
Seconds pass, days go by as my heart goes out for her life to get lighter

Thank you St. Martin's Press - you broke my heart but you also gave me the insight (this book ironically traveled into my horizons right after we'd said NO to relocating to Australia) and introduced me to an amazing talent that is Jesse Blackadder. My heart goes out to your family!

My life will never be the same.
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I’ve read sad family stories before and laughed and cried along with them. This book was just not my cup of tea. It is a family drama. It is sad but there are some lighter spots in it. The family consists of Finn, the father, Bridget, the mother, Jarrah the older son and Toby, the younger son. The story is told from the perspective of each of the parents and the older son. To me it was somewhat hard to follow and difficult to follow each of the threads to their ends. I think others will find this book very interesting it just wasn’t for me. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read an advance copy for my honest review.
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